Of all the characters in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, there is one who is most complex. To many of the characters, the protagonist is offensive. One either likes or dislikes Howard Roarke. Austen Heller believes Howard Roarke to be complex because despite Howard's bizarre behavior he does help people when asked.
In The Fountainhead, Howard Roarke consistently demonstrates that he is an altruistic yet complex character. Roarke's personality is a unique one. Although he does not let anyone stand in his way, he always assists people, especially when it comes to his true passion, architecture. An example of this begins with the first part of the novel. Peter Keating is reminiscing about Roarke's expulsion. Peter Keating is one of those characters that dislikes Howard Roarke. During this reminiscing, Keating remembers that "Roarke had been very nice to him, helping him whenever he was stuck on a problem Roarke could untangle a plan, like pulling a string and it was open" (30). Peter Keating advances in the architecture world, while Howard Roarke is expelled from his school therefore he can not graduate. Roarke goes to Henry Cameron, an intelligent architect with similar ideals as Roarke. Roarke always stay true to his ideals. Roarke aids Keating so much that Guy Francon, an architect with many social embellishments, recruits Keating. An additional example of Howard's complex character is when he helps Dominique Francon fix her marble fireplace. Miss Francon is one of those characters that likes Howard Roarke and what he stands for. Although Roarke is exhausted, he assists Miss Francon in fixing her marble slab. Roarke knows that she is using him to fix the fireplace. Howard Roarke realizes that she tried to break the marble slap in order to get him to her house. He helps her by breaking the slab with one smash of the hammer. Roarke helps her by ordering her a new piece of marble.